An Open Letter to the Class Instructor at Orange Theory Fitness

Posted on
Jun 9, 2016

Dear … um … Crap.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t catch your name as it was shouted over your headset. Tamblynn? Is that even a real name? Or just a dehydration-induced hallucination? (And who I am to judge? Geraldine. My name is Geraldine. Thanks a lot, mom. I hope honoring your sister who died in infancy was worth it.)

Anyway, Tamblynn, thank you so much for your enthusiasm, which is amplified at ear-splitting volumes, often at the sacrifice of clarity of sound. This is in part due to the limitations of the human ear drum, in part due to the fact that the headset you are wearing was not designed for the decibels you are screaming into it, and in part due to the fact that everything you say is drowned out by the 90s German progressive trance music that plays in the background. As such, the nuances of whatever information you are trying to convey are irrelevant. What’s important is that you are maniacally, painfully excited about today’s workout!



In the interest of being honest, I feel I should note that while you appreciate “a noisy class”, I will not be returning the strange, warbling call of your people (that is, 20-something millennials who have never known jeans that didn’t taper at the leg and who feel that fro-yo is an indulgence. In the 90s, we saw these things for what they were: punishments). When you implore us to make some noise, I will stare cynically at my reflection in the mirror opposite and give myself a look that says, “Really? This is what you’ve become?”


I wish that this reaction was born out of vexation, but mostly it’s exhaustion. I cannot, while panting for breath, take a moment to wail like a cat in a blender at your behest. I’m sure you are simply requesting that we do so in order to make sure we aren’t in a dissociative fugue state, but at this point I can’t make that promise. I have only a vague understanding of where I am, or why I am being yelled at by a preternaturally chipper Lululemon-clad demon.

Similarly, I will not “give my neighbors a high-five” after completing a set. My hands smell like the inside of a fiberglass cast in mid-summer. I can guarantee you these gorgeous people with BMIs of less than 20 do not want to touch me, lest what I have is “catching.” Will casting judgmental looks at one another out of the corner of our eyes suffice? Because we are so nailing that.

I wonder if I should have spent the extra five dollars and rented one of those heart-monitor thingies so that you can better pinpoint the moment when I actually die. Ah, well. Next time.

You have split the class into two groups – some of us start out on the weights, some on the treadmills. To address the latter group, you’ve taken to calling people “treads”.

As in, “Okay, treads, you know the deets for this next push,” WHICH WAS AN ACTUAL STATEMENT THAT CAME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. I have no words for this, other than to openly weep for America’s future.

Once you have been elected Secretary of the Interior (which seems inevitable under the impending reign of Emperor Trump), I have no doubts that terms like this will become the norm. We will call people running on the sidewalks “sides” and people who are on bicycles “‘cles” and we will call people on segways “douchebags” because seriously, who the fuck rides a segway? Not even in a Trump-fueled fucktocracy do I see that happening.

(Side note: I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking, “Dear god, woman, you are literally worse than Hilter. Tamblynn is just trying to help you.”

First off: stop misusing literally.

Secondly, is she trying to help? Or is she just some sort of succubus who thrives on the tormented cries of her victims and every time I deny her a response to her repeated inquiries of “Can I get a whoop-whoop?” I slowly drain her of power? Though as a counterpoint to that theory I haven’t made a sound in 20 minutes (ragged breathing and whimpering aside) and Tamblynn continues to jump around the room like the gazelle she I assume she chased down and ate for lunch.)

I start off on the weights, and you have told everyone to begin with two 15-pound dumbbells, which suggests that you are experiencing a serious break from reality. I would only be able to lift such an amount if there were a gravely injured child underneath that needed rescuing and my adrenaline kicked in to give me super-human strength.


At some point, Tamblynn (wait, wait, wait, is it short for Tamblynnifer?), you tell those of us on the treadmill (addressing us collectively with a rousing, “WHASSUP, TREADS”) to give you all we’ve got, which for me is a malfunctioning bladder, a stitch in my side, and a deep-seated loathing for you.

Take it, all, Tamblynn. It is yours.

You tell us to increase our elevation to 5%. I don’t know what this means, precisely, but I imagine myself trying to run out of the debts of hell. Around me everyone is returning your strange primal cry of joy and the irregular beat of some crime against music is reverberating in my ears. I realize, as my heart struggles to wrench itself free from the prison of my ribs, that I bought a ten-class pack because my other fitness options were somehow less appealing than this.

I am running towards nothing. I can no longer see the end. This is all there is, because I have given you everything else. I hate you, Tamblynn. But you are all I have.

So I guess I’ll see you the day after tomorrow. Yes … I have all the deets.



P.S. – I’m pretty sure that’s you in the bathroom stall next to me, cheering about the “KILLER JOB” your urine is doing leaving your body.

Leave a Comment

  • SeaSpider

    If I wanted people to scream at me while working out in a large group I would have stayed in the Army where at least I got paid for it and received a free college education. 😉

  • Geraldine

    As a fellow Geraldine, I have to say your opening paragraph made me smile as I’ve had similar thoughts about the name. At least your mom got it from a family member. My mom got it from a telenovela :).

  • Geraldine

    As a fellow Geraldine, I have to say your opening paragraph made me smile as I’ve had similar thoughts about the name. At least your mom got it from a family member. My mom got it from a telenovela 🙂

  • Haaaaaa. I do love me some Orange Theory, but this is an incredibly accurate summary of my first class too.

  • J Tidrick

    Thank you- I needed this laugh today. Every time I even think about group exercise, you put up one of these descriptions of your classes (hot yoga? in which I think you ended up in a fetal position of sweat, and another one lead by left shark, all arms flailing) Please continue to post your class descriptions, so I can continue to avoid them

  • cagar

    Have you ever ridden a Segway? It’s the biggest disconnect between appearance (“Look at me, I’m a ginormous dork!”) and experience (“Oh my god I’m flying!”) there is. Seriously, give up this exercise class and buy a Segway, stat.

  • Andi Plummer

    I hope your book is just a compilation of all the insane workout classes you take. I love these posts so much. (Not that I don’t love your travel/cupcake posts as well).

  • I’m with SeaSpider. No one yells at me or fives my high while I am grunting and dripping trying to lift the weight of my five year old over my head… unless they are paying me or they want a punch in the face. And a big WWWWOOOOOOOOHHHHOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  • There is a Tamblynn in every gym. Mine is called Maria and she scares the hell out of me.
    If they would allow her to hit us with a wooden stick as a punishment for not finishing a set, she may definitely have an orgazm right there!

  • Christina C

    I spit my water on my screen after reading this: “Okay, treads, you know the deets for this next push”. Laughter, rage, disgust was generated. I think i would have thrown Tamblynn on the moving tread. I’ve thought about joining Orange Theory, this just confirmed what I was afraid of, tiny millennials, who love whoop whooping and wondering how my old ass got so big.

  • Justine

    Oh that post was so awesome. Thank you!

  • Anagha

    I almost spit out tea at that first gif and by the end of this post, I was crying laughing. Thank you thank you thank you! I just stumbled upon your blog and I’m HOOKED. You’re fucking hilarious! Can’t wait for your book.

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